tv Deadline White House MSNBC May 7, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ hi there, everyone. it is 4:00 in the east. if you think anti-vax disinformation doesn't threaten you because you trust the science and the scientists and you and your loved ones are vaccinated keep this in mind. the united states will only be able to fully reopen safely if enough of us are vaccinated to prevent outbreaks of the potentially more contagious and potential covid variants. today an attack on a most effective messenger who's battling the anti-vax moouft for years as an author of his daughter called "vaccines did not cause rachel's autism" is
making waves. that scientist will look familiar to you. it is dr. peter hotez who appears frequently on this program and made his mission in covid to reach out to all americans of all political per vagss to anti-combat science disinformation and appears on fox news and news max and tmz and last night tweeted an article in a fringe right wing blog loaded with disinformation posted the contact information, phone numbers and emails and urged followers to contact him directly after falsely accusing him of committing violence through his work. he tweets this, quote, i provide this info only to keep you informed about the evolution of the movement in america. i think it might be helpful to some. he adds quote even though rationally you know they have a political agenda and use your
name for nefarious purposes it can still mess with your head. even after all these years. the emails compare him to a nazi scientists. some call him the devil. he posted some xampls on his twitter feed. we have reviewed them as well and the hate he says is still pouring in. it is a dark expression of the rabid and vocal anti-science movement that has seized on the good news about vaccines, vaccine progress in the u.s. and which tracks with right wing republican political ideologies, fueled the oxygen from tucker carlson who's spewing disinformation night after nirgt after night to his millions of viewers on fox news. we have discussed the consequences on this program numerous times. the threat it poses to recovery nationwide, the risk upon some of the nation's most vulnerable. but what's strike is that as far right rhetoric is growing in
fervor as far as mr. carlson is concerned with the vaccines themselves are proving safety and efficacy more and more. take today's hide lines, pfizer vaccine is highly effective against variants according to real world use of the vaccine. writ's proven to combat two of the most dangerous variants. moderna says i recall lisa that shows the covid vaccine is 96% effective in teens and amid the successful vaccine rollout in the u.s. coronavirus cases have finally, finally hit a 7-month low. the reassuring signs that even as the anti-vax movement grows louder, the influence might shrink. a new poll shows a majority of republicans received at least one dose of the vaccine or intend to do so and 1 in 5 republicans say they'll definitely not get vaccinated down from nearly 1 in 3 last month. the battle against the anti-vax
movement is where we start today with some favorite reporters and friends. dr. peter hotez is here, co-director of center of vaccine development. also joining us is matthew dowd, play call strategist. and our friend former fbi special agent clint watts is here. dr. hotez, first, how are you doing? >> i'm hanging in there. it's tough. this is not the first time tlchb these coordinated attacks against me or family but with each passing time it is tougher and tougher. >> and i want to read some of what you wrote that seems to have triggered some of this. so you've written in a paper in "nature" that investigations by the u.s. state department and the uk foreign office have described how russian intelligence organizations seek
to discredit western covid-19 vaccines. one campaign implies that it could turn people into monkeys and builds on a longer history of russia sponsored disinformation presumably to destabilize the u.s. and other democratic countries. many far-right extremist groups that spread false information ant last year's u.s. presidential election are doing the same about vaccines. anti-vaccine groups target black communities and documentary released in march vilifies covid-19 vaccine testing among african-americans calling it medical racism. so explain these three buckets of the most virulent strains of disinformation. >> yeah. so what's happened is in the past there would be targeted attacks against me and some colleagues, the concerns thing now is it is better organized and has more funding and has a political aspect, as well. the first bucket is we have got
now the anti-vaccine groups. there's 58 million followers so they have really got depth across the internet. and then the second is now we have u.s. and british intelligence that has found that the russian government is launched what's called a program of weaponized health information speaking to discredit western covid-19 vaccines in favor of sputnik-v and they have money and power and again they dominate now the internet which is very scary. and the newest twist and it is around for a while but never become so prominent is these links to far right extremist groups starting around 2015 here in texas and that's when they began going after me and writing the book "vaccines did not cause rachel's autism" under medical
freedom, they committed political action committees and the thing i worry about is it seems to be mainstream across many elements of the gop of the republican party which i hadn't seen before and seeing the terrible rants on nighttime fox news and extremist groups not only spreading disinformation but now targeting scientists. the article that i wrote in "nature" magazine was a call to say that -- remind people that this is not business as usual. they have gotten more organized and aggressive and people lose their lives, from covid-19 out of not only of the sars coronavirus type ii but defiance over masks and social distancing and now vaccine and it is deadly and become a killer. it's not confined anymore to the united states. it's happening across europe.
you have protests in london, paris and berlin, "new york times," bbc reporting it's linked to qanon and now the disinformation go into africa and elsewhere. so we're going to have the hands full if not only we fully vaccinate the american people but vaccinate plan jet we need not only more vaccines but revisit what the anti-vaccine movement has become which is really an anti-science empire and look at what are our options that we have to do something about it. >> clint watts, this is also from what dr. hotez writes. i have a long standing disagreement with the u.s. public health colleagues. i admire their commitment but when i ask for direct ways to counter the anti-vaccine aggression i'm told that's not
our approach. today the anti-vax empire has hundreds of websites and perhaps 58 million followers. health agencies underestimate or deny the reach of anti-science forces and ill equipped to counter it. i know when i reach into the government, to the administration, to ask what they're doing about this i get sent to other places. i wonder if you think from sort of your expertise in law enforcement and russian disinformation is a more whole of government aproemp is needed to fight this. >> it is not just whole of government. you are exactly right. i see that has an excuse. this was part of the counter terrorism problem, as well. there's hesitancy in the public for vaccines and to fight the information war from the government. they need to expand the
messengers carrying the truth to the public by thousands. they're trying to use dr. fauci as a single messenger everywhere in the country right now to reach every community and you could just watch the interview schedule and the movements. basically trying to reach every group and won't be able to do that because he is surrounded in the online space. they have a fix on him. he can be targeted just like dr. hotez is. that is not true. the other part about giving it oxygen, if anyone's been on facebook or twitter or youtube, there's plenty of oxygen for disinformation and why it is winning. people tend to believe that which they hear first and the most. they hear lies and falsehoods more than the truth. it is literally a battle of volume in terms of speech and getting the facts out. they need to rely on experts but we have experts to empower.
we can look to empower people at a very local level. for example, i tell you one messenger they should look for right away is child media trirns right now. the next battle is about child vaccines and it is the next big battle that we have. >> yeah. no. i think mr. carlson is leading the way on that attacking messages of vaccine safety for the next age group. i want to ask you, though, clint about this intersection of a russian attack on the country and white supremacy and then fox news dignifying the same arguments. the russian attacks on the country have been going on for a long time. white supremacists lurked in the corners of the internet for a long time but what seems to be the threat now in the case of vaccines to public health and the other areas where they
intersect it is broader, to the whole democracy. but what is the impact of sort of this mainstreaming and right wing media of the same things that russian disinformation is putting out and the right wing extremists. >> a thing that's overlooked and we have talked about it here but in terms of analysis of russian interference in the election 2016 is how they're the connectivity tissue from moscow to the united states of america. they are in the european alt-right. particularly in france, germany, italy. that is a -- in the information space tlur no borders so those messages move frequently and we have also seen it from everything from the overt content that comes out from rt and sputnik and now in spanish? it is having an impact on the communities here in the u.s. and then in the middle it is the
conspiracy websites particularly around white supremacist bent or leanings. what you see is this message is carried from afar into the united states and repeated by cable news networks here in the u.s. if anything is happened over three years it's not been the russian invasion so much as convergence. you have seen americans move to the message and carry it inside the united states. they are one audience based online and sharing this disinformation to such a derogatory point that it is actually crippling the country's ability to move forward in the pandemic. russia's not behind all of it but it is a convergence undermining the integrity of the democracy and the health of the country. >> matthew, i can't say there's a meld of mottive. i don't know what the motive is. in the republican party. but the fact that there's a
melding of message between the russians, white supremacists and republican leaning media seems to be the problem that undergirds everything challenging our democracy. the absence of truth from the debates. the obsession with clinging to a disgraced ex-president who incited an insurrection and i want to read some of what you wrote on "medium" today. you write this. truth and democracy, the divide b lean in america today. having task forces on the pandemic is great and speaking about the herlt and economic concerns so many face today is important. but if we don't get truth and our democracy in order then none of that will matter for ourselves and children and grandchildren. it is time to let go of the conservative versus progressive debate on issues, the terms are quite meaningless and the differences seem insignificant compared to truth and democracy. the great dividing line in the country today is on one side we have a belief in a common set of
facts, the common good and vibrant active democracy and the opposing side is the opposite. it lays itself over just about everything we cover here in these hours. >> first, it is great to be here and i feel like that "sesame street" where which one of these don't belong with clint and dr. hotez but i'll be the political guy here. to me this is the most important fight. this is -- can damage everything about our society and our country. not only see it as discussed in the pandemic and health concerns and the democracy but you cannot have a functioning country if truth no longer matters. whether it is whether or not we need infrastructure or whether or not we should be addressing certain protocols in a pandemic
or whether or not votes we are cast or counted or legitimate. all of those at the bases of those where i think the russians have undermined it, they basically have seeded this in such a way that there's a number of americans that shrug their shoulders saying i don't know what to believe and done this in a way and we have had in the history of the world where truth and science has been condemned and confronted before. it happened with galileeo and what's different is there's a pipeline for information that is widespread. it's not only social media but it's win of the cable networks which has a large audience which feeds this sort of anti-truth, anti-democracy, anti-science part of this. and the other part of this is what we have never had is a party has been filled with this.
this is the theme of one of the dominant parties. complete theme of the party and if you're pro science and pro facts and pro truth you don't fit in that party anymore. if you just don't fit why you're obligated to lie to fit in that party and that is about democracy, science and all of that and so the dangers are real. i would say one other thing. the more this is a national conversation with national spokesperson trying to solve a pandemic issue and keep this in play i think the less credible it is. today people are much more likely to believe the local teacher, doctor, minister. i said this a month or so ago with you is the church i belong to is split between trump and biden voters. today 92% of the people are fully vaccinated. 92%. >> that's great. >> fully vaccinated. why? not listening to a national but
listening to somebody they hear from local and i think if any mistake the biden administration has made it is underestimated the power of a ground war on this and overestimated the power of national spokes people on this and for this and the battle over all on truth has to fundamentally be fought is in this day-to-day finding credible people to discount what is a lie and to push what is true but to me we could do all the greatest things on the pandemic and the greatest things on everything else but if we don't solve this problem we don't have a democracy. >> i want -- i mean, i agree with everything that you just said, matthew. dr. hotez, i think there's some proof what we are seeing to what matthew is talking about. it is not just the church but the number of republicans saying they won't be vaccinated are shrinking and that example is
playing out. i wonder your efforts contribute to that but i wonder if it's also in your view just the powerful proof of vaccinated nations like israel seeing transmission cut. what is your, even as someone being attacked personally, are you optimistic right now? >> well, i worked on neglected disease vaccines my whole life and my definition i'm optimistic. i'm hoping that the examples of israel and the northeast may have some impact but the truth is we're way behind on vaccination coverage. in the bottom ten states and the bottom ten states are deep red states. idaho, wyoming, alabama, tennessee and so forth. and so we do need i think some more outreach. it can work. one of the things we saw at the early -- the end of last year was vaccine hesitancy in the
african-american community very high. a number of us, i went on a number of podcasts and meeting with church groups and went on a number of those and the numbers started to decline. i was on one recently, a black church in richmond, virginia. i was on with a pediatrician and invited me providence baptist church and i said, pastor, the numbers, polls say the numbers are declining. he said, yeah, i think that's true. it is not as bad as it was. i said what do you attribute it to? he said part is docs reaches out and the other is a number of us in the clergy said we won't put up with this and worked together, networked together. i think he is right. given the last statement from matthew and this goes along with this, the church, the clergy and the black community did a lot of
good and helped it a lot and maybe that's part of the ticket for the deep red states. i don't know. but we have to reach out and we have to keep working with them. >> such an important conversation. i'm grateful to you all for having it with me. thank you so much. matthew is sticking around with us. when we come back, texas using the lies of the election to roll back voting rights in that state. the effort to protect the right to vote in texas. holding them all accountable, the department of justice sweeping civil rights indictments for all involved in the murder of george floyd last year. the latest on that. beginning to look like a pattern. voter disenfranchisement, the florida governor leaving a house seat open until next week. why? all those stories and more after
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secretary of state said that 2020 elections was free, fair, safe and secure. do you not agree with that, with what the secretary of state said? >> i think that -- that that's their opinion, sure. >> are you saying you disagree with the secretary of state's office is what i'm asking you. >> i mean, i think they're probably right in the adding up of it all from what they saw. free, fair and secure election. >> what are we trying to fix
here that's not broken? >> we don't need to wait for bad things to happen in order to try to protect and secure the elections. >> nothing bad happened but maybe some day they will? that's what it comes down to for the author of a sweeping voter restrictions bill in the texas legislature. struggling to come up with an answer or justify case for his own bill in the debate last night despite what you heard was a free, fair, secure election and a difficult state in which to cast a ballot. the republicans advanced a bill anyway to giving more power. democrats managed to reach a deal to water down some aspects of the bill but as nbc news reports quote it is unclir if the final version of the bill expected to be negotiated in conference will include the provisions democrats secured. worrying advocates.
joining our conversation is reverend al sharpton, president of the national action network and matthew dowd is still here. rev, how's the efforts going? from hire it's winding the way through the republican-controlled legislatures. >> that is what they're doing. you have in over 40 states republican controlled state legislatures that use the state legislation to undermine voting regulations. i'm in alabama today and it's going on here. just remember historically this is always the goal to disenfranchise minority voters and now what we see is the sons and daughters of those that were against voting rights in the first place now using state legislative states, the majority of state houses to try to fix a
problem that doesn't exist. it is a solution looking for a problem. not a problem in need of a solution. they admit it he said why do we have to wait on something to happen? admitting nothing has happened that would warrant what they're doing. what they don't want to happen is to see people vote in the numbers they voted for various people last year including the president of the united states. let's not forget that no democrat that the majority of the white vote nationwide for president since cart carter. it is the black and brown and red voters that made a difference. they know exactly what they're doing. we need to know on our side in terms of all americans want a democratic process to work to know what they're doing to stop it.
>> matthew, because you're of texas, i want to share some reporting specifically about texas from "the new york times." when i asked texas governor abbott at the houston event how he believed voter fraud affected any elections in 2020 he said it's convoluted and some outcomes in the past that have been altered with fraud. there have been a few incidents in which the voter fraud may have swung elections in texas but he conceded i don't know if it happened last year. they have looked, matthew, at the state level. they have looked at the federal level. these are all states run by republicans and there is no voter fraud! they didn't find any. if they found any we would know about it because they would show it to us. you have made the perfect analogy here. there are real problems that republicans have no interest in
solving, one is mass shootings. this truly is not a problem in need of a solution. i wonder why they don't call them rigging the votes for us laws. how long -- part of this seems to be that they have succeeded in just naming them election security laws. there isn't an election security problem to solve with any laws, matthew. >> so i think they know it. i think they know deep down that this isn't a problem they have to solve. the problem doesn't exist. but i think they're focusing on an unstated problem which is that changing demographics of america and only so many white votes that they can get that as the people of color expand whether it's black, asian, latino, which is expanding on a daily basis, of the 23 million new people added 95% of the new
people were people of color so of 23 million to grow over 10 years 95%, so the white population didn't grow. texas is a perfect example because texas will trend over time with changing demographics and happening in the suburbs to a more purple and then blue state and what i think they're trying to do in this period of time they know they can't win the long haul because they know america's fundamentally changing in how it looks and who's here but they think they can retain in the short haul and one way is trying to restrict the voting to only -- to as much as they can control quote/unquote their voters. that's what this is. fundamentally that's what it is, going on in florida, georgia, in texas. and we had the investigated under indictment attorney
general of texas who himself has all kinds of fraud associated with him. spent millions and millions of dollars last year and found 16 people out of 11 million that haven't been prosecuted that might possibly have committed some sort of voter fraud. 16 after spending millions and millions of dollars. so i fundamentally think they're trying to solve a political problem which is the changing nature of the demography of america with this solution and using as a starting point the idea of fraud but i think deep down they know there wasn't fraud. >> rev, i have asked this question a few times. i hate asking what is the democratic party going to do but there's only one party that is on the record at this point as being interested in preserving and protecting the democracy so i'll ask it this way.
is the democratic party treating this with the same seriousness that the republican party realizes what matthew arctic latted. this is the ball game. if they don't roll back access to voting in every state they'll never win again so this is all they have to do. it is a political and societal tragedy but that is today's republican party. do you think that the same focus is being paid to the issues and the legislation now before the senate by the democratic party? >> i think some elements of the democratic party gets it but i do not see the passion we need on the ground with a lot of the state democratic parties. you are absolutely right when you talk about the demographics changing and what threat that some people have that you're going to have a majority/minority country within the next couple of decades. so they are fighting like their
lives depends on it when really it's erroneous because they will be treated like everybody else in this country should be treated, fair and equal. if you have a notion to be in the majority to be superior and all of that you fight with that kind of passion that your very life is threatened. those of us whether we're in the democratic party or an activist group or civil rights groups we have to fight like our very lives are at stake. as i said i'm in alabama: my i'm sorry's from alabama and i came to lay floirs at her grave and she couldn't vote here until she was 39. she fought so not only could my generation and i could run for president. we owe it to them to not let them take it back on a claim that they need to correct something. isn't it suspicious 47 states
having the same hallucination at the same time? and they're all imagining at the same time that drop boxes and people are doing electioneering all over the country they have this epidemic of voter fraud? that is crazy. they are trying to protect themselves to have voters of a certain race because they feel those voters have historically including the last few election voted republican and that's what this is about. they use race as a political tactic and it is absolutely something that we eight to deplore. it's morally wrong and also bad for the country and it undermines what we call in terms of a democracy. >> matthew, how do you take these issues and you're someone that knows more about public opinion and how to move it and how to read it and how to sort
of draw out desire to see the good guys win. how do you turn this into a winning issue so you don't have 350-plus laws in 4 states enacted that roll back access to voting? >> i'm going to be more critical of the biden administration. i think they have underestimated this problem. and they have talked around it but they haven't focused enough on it. this is the number one issue in america why not the pandemic. not the economy. this issue. the faltering nature of the democracy in the midst of this and what the administration should be focusing on every day. they should have appointed a cabinet level position on democracy. a cabinet level position who is able to bring in the justice department and everybody else and basically say this is the number one issue in america today. that's to me where they have not done this well enough and good things, some secretaries of state here and there but there's not a national reckoning on this
where we have a -- i think they appointed an undersecretary to something somewhere that was supposed to watch democracy. that's not going to do it in this environment. so to me that's the issue. the other part of this is a very nonpartisan issue in really most people's respects. let's make voting secure and easy. as simple as that secure and easy. but in the end it's going to go back to this republicans feel like if they allow expansive voting they're going to lose. so until the voters show up in 2022, and reject them and in 2024, they irish not going to get the message. in the end we can do this and i think nationalized and a bigger issue by the biden administration. i don't think they focused on it enough in a concerted way but in the end 2022 will be the chance for the voters to overcome the restrictions, overcome the impediments as they have in the
past to try to force a democracy to be a democracy. that to me is the ultimate way this gets resolved. >> i think, matt, i will speak for myself and having spent time in the republican party i understand this is a threat to the future of the republican party. because for all their wrought, the corruption they understand that the only way to win is to do this and why there's 48 states looking at 360 something bills and i think some of it is you have to sort of been on the dark side and i only speak for myself and spent more time on the dark side than you did to understand that this is -- i have said this. this is the whole deal. i think it maybe disorienting to think that you have to stand up and protecting the democracy from a two governing party but i agree that that's where we are. they're sticking around. more charges filed against
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in a separate indictment he faces two counts of violating the rights of a 14-year-old boy during an arrest in 2017 holding the child by the neck and hit him with a flashlight twice. the charges come after an ongoing investigation by the justice department. attorney general garland 'nounsing last month that the minneapolis police department was under a pattern or practice investigation. i saw your state about this but i think it sort of ties together all of your interviews and public and private meetings and efforts to make sure that the right person leads this justice department. >> that is why voting is so important because it is my firm belief if we did not have a judge garland and a new justice department this would not have happened. let us not forget we had a videotape on eric garner and couldn't get federal charges for the violation of civil rights and videotape him saying 11
times i can't breathe while under chokehold and michael brown in ferguson couldn't get federal charges. this is the first case we have seen of this level of visibility of federal charges. even after a state conviction. this is a big deal, a step in the right direction to saying to police they will be held accountable to the law. we are not having an attack on police or war on police. we are saying that the law will be upheld and it must be enforced even and especially against those we trust to protect it so i think this is a good thing. i certainly think that the fact to see this done in the week that chauvin is asking for a new trial in the state making claims that the pretrial publicity made
the trial unfair and will get a new trial now and now it will be two trials in federal court. >> matthew, back to the last comment, it is amazing to watch this young garland justice department stake out such decisive ground with such clarity on the rule of law and reminds you again of how much the republican party, the republican brand abdicated in service to donald trump. >> i think this is one of the more phenomenal parts of the biden administration is what garland has done and not emotional but gone about the business to uphold the law and this is what we're going do do and justice is applied across america. not only has he done a better job than donald trump who would never have brought this case if in office but a much better job than what happened in the obama eight year just they seem to have more ability to pursue like justice in this.
i agree. this is a good first step but only a step because if they were going to look at all of this they'd be spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week in various law enforcement and policing departments going through this because there's a lot of rot throughout this and i think of two areas of the country that we ought to have an active justice department involved. it is people to legally carry guns in protection of fellow citizens, police officers, law enforcement and the military. and we have to do a much better job of making sure the people that carry the guns aren't of a group with designs on it and following the law so let's set a standard and let's pursue it but i give biden administration and garland credit. they're moving with greater speed and degree of justice than i saw the obama administration.
>> garland justice department is really this sort of -- it is a little opaque for us but it is truly a stunning. thank you both so much for spending time with us today. up next for us, 800,000 mostly black floridians without a representative in congress until next year and the republican governor there in florida is perfectly fine with it. we'll talk about that next. abot tonight, i'll be eating a pork banh mi with extra jalapeños.
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florida governor ron desantis's press tent yesterday signing his state's restrictive voting bill into law isn't the only thing he's doing. desantis announcing this week that the special election to replace congressman alcee hastings won't happen until january 2022, creating problems for democrats in the house who only hold a slim margin with their majority. democrats have urged the governor to fill the seat quickly, a seat representing hundreds of thousands of florida voters, large number of them black and democratic voters. "washington post" editorial board today putting desantis's move like this. "it meshes neatly with his larger agenda of suppressing the vote whenever possible for anyone but republican voters. the thread running through it is a disdain for democracy." joining our conversation, former republican congressman of florida, david jolly, the
national chairman of the serve america movement. you know, it is undeniable that it may have taken a minute, but there is a very clear ideology that underpins the voter suppression laws in 47 states, playing politics with special elections, which is what this story is about. playing politics with the vaccine. some people think it's an underhanded way to undermine president biden. what do you make of the fact that the democracy is now imperilled by the republican party you and i were once a part of? >> yeah, nicole, i think if we focus in on the actions of ron desantis, just like if we were to look at other republicans, the facts really matter because it's easy in a high volume political debate between republicans and democrats for the facts to get lost. the reality is, the seat to replace alcee hastings will take nine months to hold that election. i was a product of a special election myself after my predecessor in office passed away. we had a primary election and a
general in five months. we filled the seat in five months. it can be done. ron desantis is intentionally delaying this, as you mentioned, so as to give power -- greater opportunity for republicans in congress, given the slim majority of nancy pelosi's democratic caucus. but it's also on the heels of the voter bill that ron desantis signed and again, facts matter. ron desantis signed this bill following an election where black vote by mail turnout doubled over the 16 and 18 numbers. that is not true of white republican turnout. in fact, as a proportion of total vote by mail turnout in the state of florida, the black share of that increased by 28% this election. so, these moves by ron desantis, by other governors across the country, by republicans in washington, they're not happening in a vacuum. they're happening in a context in which republicans are intent on restricting greater participation and the use of suffrage of communities of color. >> desantis has a problem that
is probably only known to people who know desantis really well but let me lead this from politico playbook this morning. scarred desantis staffers form a support group. politico talked to one-time aides and consultants to the florida governor and they all said the same thing. desantis treats staff like dispensable widgets. he visited his campaign headquarters a couple times. on election night he entered the war room after his win and said, wow, i didn't know this many people worked for me. according to four staffers. it used to be that that cemented your fate as a loser after donald trump, that's obviously not the case anymore, but i wonder what desantis's end game is. does he view people as expendable and thinks that if it worked for trump, it will work for him? >> yeah, look, if i'm being generous, i would say ron desantis has more political victories than he does friends but i guess victories is what counts. he's now the governor of the state and looking at running for the white house. he was somebody i served with in congress.
he did have few political allies outside of the freedom caucus. he was not welcomed by the florida republican party, even when he was elected, you saw this marriage of convenience, almost of necessity between ron desantis and traditional republican operatives. look, the republican party of florida is going to run with the guy they've got, and that's ron desantis, but ron desantis is not always in step with today's republican party, and that can be a very lonely place to be but it can be a very beneficial one in the trump years, provided trump continues to give ron desantis his blessing, which he's done thus far. >> i don't mean to pick on florida, but it is also the backdrop for the, you know, nuts and whack job tour of the qanon lady and the credibly accused matt gaetz. what do you make of their tour launching in the villages today? >> it's a perfect snapshot of today's republican party, nicole. you know, we often assess and kind of make judgments on our political leaders, but this is a
moment where we have to judge the followers as well because a leader without a follower, as we know, is really going nowhere. the heartbeat of today's republican party is attracted to matt gaetz and marjorie taylor greene and they are rejecting and tossing aside liz cheney. this is a defining moment for today's republican party, one more in this trail of the republican party over the last five years, but i think, in terms of political analysis, it does suggest that the republican party is running straight towards donald trump and their affiliation with the past president for this midterm election. and any notion that they would try to distance themselves and get back to governing, as mitch mcconnell would like to do, that's not going to happen. they see their only path to victory by remaining in the donald trump, matt gaetz, marjorie taylor greene lane. republicans might benefit from that, but i think america loses. >> yeah, and i mean, i think you're right. there is no civil war in the republican party. it's a complete abdication to
trumpism. david jolly, thank you so much for spending time with us today on all these florida headlines. we're grateful. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts after a quick break. white house" stargts after a quick break. on refrigerators, microwaves, gas ranges and grills. and if you're looking for... this is our block. our place. our people. watch the curb. not having a ride to get the vaccine. can't be the reason you don't get it. you wanna help? donate a ride today. my name is douglas. i'm a writer/director and i'm still working. in the kind of work that i do, you are surrounded by people who are all younger than you. i had to get help somewhere along the line to stay competitive. i discovered prevagen. i started taking it and after a period of time,
♪♪ i would just say to my republican colleagues, can we move forward without president trump? the answer is no. i've always liked liz cheney but she's made a determination that the republican party can't grow with president trump. i've determined we can't grow without him. >> hi again, everyone. it's 5:00 in the east. trump's basket must be overflowing with eggs, because the current republican party is
putting all of theirs in it. here's why this story matters. it is the mothership of every anti-democratic movement in this country right now. it undergirds an assault on truth. it robs every elected republican, not just of their souls and their capacity for remorse, but also of their memories. they can forget not just 1/6 but also 9/11 and the lessons about violent extremism. after 9/11, the republican party sought to prevent future attacks with aggressive counterterror policies. after 1/6, the republican party is seeking to deny the attack with aggressive actions against republicans in their own ranks who tell the truth about it. the assault of democracy is a coast-to-coast operation which also intersects with the domestic extremism warning that specifically quotes a danger to our homeland from people who believe the big lie. case in point, in arizona, an absurd audit is under way that now includes examining ballots for bamboo and using uv light to
check for fraud. "washington post" reporting on a battle brewing between state and federal authorities over the legality of the audit. arizona's democratic secretary of state, katie hobbes on this network earlier voicing her concerns about its long-term impact. >> what this is doing is just continuing to undermine people's confidence in the integrity of our elections, and that is dangerous for our democracy, and that, i think, is the end game here that they want to accomplish. >> a frightening thought as we're already seeing trump's big lie weaponized across the country, disguised in the passage of election integrity bills which would actually make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote. florida's new restrictive law, which was just passed yesterday, is already facing lawsuits, which claim it will result in the illegal discrimination of minority voters. the texas house last night advancing a bill after hours of questioning and amendments from democrats that would empower
partisan poll watchers and enhance criminal penalties. ohio just entered its into the voter suppression game, introducing a bill that, among other things, would cut down on early voting and shorten the time to request mail-in ballots. the infiltration of trumpism no clearer than right in washington, d.c., where liz cheney seems all but guaranteed to lose her leadership position to trump acolyte elise stefanik who just yesterday was spouting the big lie in interviews and praising arizona's bizarre audit. and the former guy's takeover is happening on a more local level as well. axios reports, quote, republican officials are rendering an unequivocal verdict. they want to cement former president trump's politics and policies into the foundation of the gop for many years to come. state level republican leaders are often as or more trumpian than national leaders and in many cases will control redistricting but the gop's decision to go all in on trump could prove to be a risky bet. republicans are warning against
their usual allies, big business, as they pursue more laws to restrict voting. trump's lies could cost republicans the majority in the house and a conservative "wall street journal" editorial board warned not to refight 2020 in 2022. threatening democracy is where we start this hour. "washington post" contributing columnist and msnbc contributor, former congresswoman donna edwards is here. mark looeb, an msnbc contributor, and kurt is here, a former spokesman for the house oversight committee. donna edwards, i think that after trump lost, i shared in this intense appetite to never talk about him again, and i really believed that lindsey graham and kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell and liz cheney would still be wacky, still be wrong, still be out of step, perhaps, with the country, but
would maybe snap back to some pre-trump republicanism. the opposite has happened. and the party now doesn't just represent this really extreme version of maybe a shadow or a shell of what we think of when we think of the republicans. it represents a threat to the country, a threat to democracy, ignoring the root cause of domestic violent extremism, passing voter suppression laws or also flirting with anti-protest laws. what do -- what does our system do to sort of contain the damage that they can do? >> you know, nicole, i'm with you. i believed that once donald trump was no longer president that there would be some right-sizing of the republican party, and i could not have been more wrong. what it is that the republican -- part of the republican party that still exists can do, i'm not really
sure. donald trump owns this party. it is his party in congress. it is his party among republicans in the country. and i think until there's another election cycle or two and potentially losses, and i'm not sure that those will necessarily occur, i don't think that there is any changing of the republican party, even having lost the house, the senate, and the white house. that was not enough medicine to get rid of donald trump and to have gone through an insurrection. that was not enough medicine to get rid of donald trump. so, this is the republican party, i think, that we are going to have to live with, contend with, and deal with in the near term future. >> kurt, we should just show, i think, some of what motivates former republicans. you know, we built up something
that is now a menace to our country, and so i want to really push you for your most candid answer to this question. why do you think -- and we both know that probably hundreds of republicans agree with liz cheney -- why do you think not one of them has the courage to say it out loud? >> you know, nicole, i think, honestly, their fidelity to power has completely, i think, awashed any conscience on commitment to policy or morality that they have had. you know, it's been really something watching a party that spent certainly so much of my adult life talking about very specific core ideological principles and over the last four years, we've seen a complete erosion of those principles. we've seen them completely walk away and do the exact opposite of the very things they talked about for the better part of 20 years. and it comes down to power. and i think the realization that
they have that when the playing field is level and all things are equal, the platform that they now hold is not a winnable platform on a large national scale, and so what are they doing? they're systemically trying to undermine democracy. they're systemically trying to undermine the playing field because that's the only way that they can win, and so instead of caring about legitimate issues like healthcare, the overarching role of government, how much money we spend, foreign policy, they're instead doubling down on conspiracy theories designed to sow distrust in our electoral system, and i'll tell you, nicole, i said something the other day on this network that's gotten a lot of attention over on the fox news, that triggered them, that the damage that this party is doing to our democracy, the damage they are doing to our elections, to our integrity, to the entire foundation of our system is worse than anything that the people behind 9/11 did to our country, and i believe it. i think that right now, the biggest threat we have to face for the future of our freedom is the threat from within. it's this enemy from within, built within the republican
party, that is doing everything that they can at every level, local, state, national, to create a system where they are the ones who always win, and anyone else who does, they try to undermine, they try to delegitimize. that's exactly the type of things that when they happen in other parts of the world, we call that terrorism. we call that unstable. we call that crazy. it's happening right here, right now. >> i'm going to need you to say more, and specifically on this intersection of an ideology that here in our country, national security officials have testified to belief in the big lie undergirding a domestic violent extremism threat in this country. i thought it might be one of these trip wires, the same way i thought talking about bleep-hole countries or grabbing women, i mean, i've constantly been crushed by the fact that there are no trip wires, there's no bottom for this republican party, but i thought maybe the threat of domestic violent extremism being triggered by a belief in the big lie would stop this. what do you make of the fact
that it hasn't? >> you know, in the immediate aftermath of january 6th, we saw a number of republicans return to that chamber that day and give really stirring, rousing speeches in defense of democracy. they had met that day to certify the electoral results of our election, and it seemed like there was a window there where they could pivot back to some semblance of normalcy when it comes to our democratic norms, but instead, and it's something that you said earlier, they've done the exact opposite. it is bewildering to watch people like senator ron johnson was among the very first to start telling a tale about january 6th that isn't true. that is completely at odds with what we saw, with the video, with the facts, with the evidence that law enforcement has gathered, and instead tried to create this whitewashing effect that it wasn't violent, that it wasn't trump supporters, magaland, fox news nation that perpetrated this violent
insurrection attempt and the more we do this, the more that republicans -- when the two political parties in america and we are a two-party system for better or worse, the more they do this, the more like it is that it's going to happen again and it's going to be worse and it's going to happen elsewhere. i shudder to think what's going to happen at the end of this arizona b.s. count that's going on right now. i shudder to think what's going to happen when we have elections and people can't turn out to vote because of suppression laws. they are setting a dynamic that will ultimately end in violence and bloodshed and worse, they know it. it's not like this is hypothetical, because it just happened. january 6th wasn't that long ago. it was just four, five months ago, and already, they're treating it like it didn't happen and treating it like it's something that wasn't unprecedented, that wasn't dangerous, and that doesn't set a standard for what will happen in the future. >> mark, i think of you and i think of all of your chronicling of sort of the interior landscape of some of the standard bearers of the
republican party. i'm thinking of john mccain and one of the last public speeches he gave, i believe flanked by his long-time friend, joe biden, when he talked about trumpism and some of these philosophies ending up on the ash heap of history, and i wonder, and i think of him and his clarity after 9/11, i wonder what you think he would think of a party that won't -- that's getting ready to purge liz cheney for seeing what happened on 9/11 clearly and refusing to lie about it. >> i mean, the mind recoils. first of all, he was not happy about the way this was going when he died. i mean, he was very upset about -- mostly about people who knew better, including one of his closest friends, lindsey graham. he was never that tight with the cheneys. there was a history of tension between john mccain and dick cheney certainly and sort of the world view around the cheneys but four years on from that or three years on from that, we now
have a whole new generation of people, not just your sort of standard variety sort of trump wannabes like matt gaetz or people sort of like that, who are actually in serious positions of power. i mean, ron desantis was a joke to his colleagues. no one really said he had a chance and he basically gave his entire campaign over to making, you know, making himself little donald trump and talking about how he was reading his kids bedtime stories about donald trump. now he's governor of one of the biggest states in the country. he's obviously enacting things that are having direct impacts on democracy, and frankly, look, i mean, this is actually -- these are people in power. i mean, kevin mccarthy, elise stefanik are all people that have been around a while. these are not fringy people. these are people who directly impact people's lives and the direction of the party and the direction of the country at this point. so, look, john mccain, i think,
was a very early adopter and early aware of this, certainly, but he also, i mean, i think he saw where this was going. i don't think he would -- i mean, i think he'd be shocked by how far it's gone, just like a lot of people are, but i think he certainly knew where this was going early on. >> donna, i started by asking about the damage being done, and it's this intersection of cowardice, of sort of, if i don't say anything, someone else will deal with it, but it's also this obsession with following the base, not leading the country, and i want to read you something peggy wrote. cheney's colleagues are rejecting her not because they think she's wrong on the facts. they don't want to antagonize constituents who believe the election was stolen. they think cheney is doing so pointlessly. they think the way out is to be quiet and hope the fever passes. here is a fact of our current political life. the fever never passes. it has to be treated, by not pushing back, they create more crazy.
this is as dangerous to the democracy as anything else. this sort of fear of the voter. but the voter believes that there was fraud because they were told there was fraud by donald trump and everyone who repeated his bat bleep crazy lies for four months. how do you -- i mean, president biden has extended nothing but generosity of spirit and sort of elevation, that speech to the joint session of congress, he said, i don't want to be confrontational on guns but we've got the whole country, including legal gun owners on our side, maybe you could come along. how do you break the fever with dignity? that seems to be his approach. >> well, i think you can only do it in the way that president biden is choosing to lead, and that is you continue to govern. you continue to deliver competence. you speak to the nation as though we are one nation and not a divided one. and he's doing those things.
you know, i look, for example, at people like elise stefanik, who is about to ascend to leadership as the republican party dumps liz cheney, and the fact is that liz cheney has a much more traditional conservative republican record than elise stefanik. elise stefanik came in as a moderate. up until very recently, if you look at her cosponsoring legislation, she cosponsored legislation with the chair of the progressive caucus, pramila jayapal and has worked with hakeem jeffries, the chair of the democratic conference chair -- caucus chair, and so i just think that this is a republican party that is, as mark says, more interested in power. it is jumping hoops to turn somersaults to support this cult and to respond to a base rather than leading it, and i think the
one thing that joe biden can do is to simply lead, and that is what the nation is already responding to in his policies and in his person, and beyond that, there is no reshaping the republican party as long as it continues in this vein of, you know, following the cult of donald trump. >> mark, liz cheney is about to be ousted, as donna said, for someone not just more moderate than she is but someone who worked in the george w. bush white house as a staffer and ascended to -- i think she became the youngest person ever in congress or in her district, and sort of governed as a moderate. the only thing she did differently than liz cheney was lie for donald trump, pledge her allegiance to the lie for donald trump, pledge her allegiance to donald trump, during, i think, both impeachments of donald trump, and i wonder what you think it says about sort of the
path that's been now set in stone for the next two to four years. >> first of all, i'm always amused by how people equate trumpism with conservatism because that is absolutely -- certainly not true by any -- >> no relation, right. >> i mean, elise stefanik is far more moderate in record, at least until a couple years ago, in temperament than liz cheney ever was. the one conversation that i have ever had with elise stefanik was when i was writing about paul ryan and she was a big supporter of paul ryan and he was sort of a mentor to her, and i said, hey, you should call elise stefanik to prove that the moderates and someone who cares about expanding republican to more women, you should talk to her for that. but i guess what's bizarre about this, and i guess you can't really say this enough, is there are cults of personality sometimes in public life, whether it's in religion or politics or whatever. but usually, they're for people who theoretically are, you know, worthy of it, right? i mean, whether it's ronald reagan or barack obama, i mean,
both, you know, very successful politicians have been sometimes accused of being cults of personality politicians. we're talking about someone who is a one-term, twice impeached president who left office with a 30% approval rating who, you know, could face significant legal and financial problems in the next year or so. and you know, who only lost popularity and who only lost the senate and the house for his party and the white house for his party so it's interesting that, you know, lindsey graham would say, the only person who can grow the republican party at this point is donald trump or something to that effect, when the republican party has only shrunk for the last four years and that's the other part of the spiral here. so there's a lot going on around this cult of personality and i guess elise stefanik has decided that her career should be tied to that for the time being, and you know, whether that's a long-term good bet for her, i guess we'll have to see. >> we will see indeed. donna edwards, mark, kurt
bardella, thank you so much for starting us off this hour. when we return, how the big lie is leading to big legal problems for right-wing media companies still pushing it and for the trump ally who runs newsmax, the results could be disastrous. that's next. plus the lawyer for a capitol riot suspect tells a judge his client has foxitis. we'll unpack that piece of legal lunacy. later in the hour, very special lives well lived tribute as we remember a teammate, a friend, a son, a protector of presidents. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break, so please don't go anywhere today. ick bree n'dot go anywhere today. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ hey google, turn up the heat. ♪ ♪ ♪
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few media outlets have pushed and amplified the former president's big lie, the one behind the deadly insurrection at the capitol, more than newsmax, which is owned by a trump ally and now as "the washington post" reports in a comprehensive profile of newsmax's owner, quote, his attempts to attach himself to trump and ingratiate himself with trump's base have landed him in legal jeopardy. the most quotable man in trump's orbit is keeping his head down as his company faces the threat of disastrous lawsuits from voting technology companies that claimed they were defamed by newsmax's copious spewing of baseless claims. it's the threat of legal action that has led to tense and awkward on-air moments like this one. >> we have all the election fraud with these dominion machines. we have 100% proof and then i -- when they took it down -- >> mike, mike, i -- >> put it back up, my
personal -- it was -- >> mike, thank you very much. mike, i -- you're talking about machines that we add newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations. while there were some clear evidence of some cases of vote fraud and election irregularities, the election results in every state were certified and newsmax accepts the result. can i ask our producers, can we get out of here, please? i don't want to have to keep going over this. >> actually, mike -- >> we at newsmax have not been able to verify any of those allegations. >> mike, hold on a second. everybody hold on a second. mike, mike, hold on one second. let's talk a little bit about just what is happening overall in terms of censorship -- >> sold my company and myself. >> joining us now is josh, "washington post" political investigations reporter whose byline is on that report and chuck rosenberg, who worked on
the staffs of robert mueller and james comey at the fbi. he's now an msnbc contributor. i want to ask this in a way that i'm not trying to get you to offer an opinion here. i know that you're covering this story, josh, but is there any incentive other than the threat of multibillion dollar lawsuits, is there any patriotism, any fear of stoking a domestic violent extremism threat that gives ruddy pause or is it only the threat of multibillion dollar lawsuit? >> well, ruddy maintained to me since the election that he was not propagating himself that there was fraud, that he was just letting people present their sides, but obviously those threats from a whole host of folks, lawsuits and all sorts of recriminations have slowed some of that, as you just showed. ruddy is a super close ally of the president, he's at mar-a-lago almost every weekend, is frequently down with newsmax hosts and commentators, rudy giuliani, he's incredibly close to the president and what he viewed after the election, nicole, was hits ratings were going up as fox's were going
down a bit after the president tarnished fox. so it was an opportunity for him that he saw and he believed he took advantage of it. >> you know, chuck rosenberg, if you're the fbi and you're worried about the rising threat of domestic violent extremism and one of the ideologies you've shared with the public that undergirds that threat is belief in the big lie, what do you think of newsmax? >> well, i'm not sure the fbi, nicole, is going to take a position on newsmax. it doesn't make their job any easier. but when you spoke in your lead-in about the legal implications of what newsmax and fox and others have done, there's a really important distinction here, and it'll explain why the fbi is sort of on the sidelines. if you and i are in a parking lot, me on foot and you in a car and you accidentally back into me and i fall down and break my arm, that's a civil case. that's a lawsuit between you and me. it would be styled or captioned as, you know, chuck vs. nicole.
if, in the same parking lot, with the same car, you purposefully run my over, that's a criminal case, and it wouldn't be chuck vs. nicole, it would be state vs. nicole. the fbi gets involved in criminal cases. when there's purposeful, unlawful action. they don't get involved in civil cases, and so while what newsmax has done could very well make their job harder and inspire or motivate domestic terrorists, it's not an fbi matter. >> what do you make, chuck rosenberg, of the prospect for success in the civil cases against newsmax for defamation? >> yeah, i've read the complaints. i think they're very strong. i think there's a compelling civil case, right? so, a plaintiff in a civil case, the voting technology company, smartmatic or dominion have been harmed and they lay that out in their complaint and they want the conduct to stop and they want to be compensated for the
harm, and they lay that out in their complaint. it's actually quite compelling and the interesting thing about newsmax, and josh, obvious, knows this is they have already apologized to the plaintiffs for what they did, falsely reporting about voter fraud. these are important lawsuits for civil plaintiffs because they can get the things that they want. they want the conduct to stop. and they want to be compensated for the losses, and my reading of these complaints, of these lawsuits is that they have a very strong legal case. >> i want to read a little bit more from your great piece of reporting, josh. you write that through newsmax, ruddy has already made a mark on the media and democracy. the scars of the attack on the capitol are still fresh and how quickly investors and advertisers forget newsmax's false coverage of the election remains to be seen. ruddy is still cultivating close connections to trump world. in march, he hired trump spokesman jason miller as a contributor shortly after
newsmax landed an interview with trump at the conservative political action conference, negotiated by miller. tell me more about this question about how quickly investors and advertisers will forget newsmax's false coverage. how's that going? >> well, if you talk to their competitors, folks around fox and other places, they say this is a flash in the pan moment and newsmax will fade and their quality is lower than the other networks but whether that remains true or not, it's hard to know. ruddy has, in the past, shopped the network around as we reported in our story, but some of that has died off since january 6th and the riots on the capitol. and what interest there will be in the company when you have, you know, lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, all sorts of specter of potential problems overhanging, it remains unclear. >> it's a great piece of reporting, josh dawsay, thank you for spending time to talk with us about it. chuck rosenberg is sticking
around. when we return, how's this for a defense? a lawyer for a rioter at the capitol insurrection said his client has fox mania or foxitis from watching too much fox. foxi from watching too much fox well you can try using the buick's massaging seat. oohh yeah, that's nice. can i use apple carplay to put some music on? sure, it's wireless. pick something we all like. ok. hold on. what's your buick's wi-fi password? “buickenvision2021.” oh, you should pick something stronger. that's really predictable. that's a really tight spot. don't worry. i used to hate parallel parking. [all together] me too. - hey. - you really outdid yourself. yes, we did. the all-new buick envision. an suv built around you... all of you. we made usaa insurance for members like martin. an air force veteran made of doing what's right, not what's easy.
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capitol rioter anthony antonio. huff post reports a lawyer told a d.c. magistrate that his client came down with symptoms of watching too much fox news after losing his job. from the huff post, for the next approximately six months, fox television played constantly, lawyer joseph hurley said. he became hooked with what i call foxitis or fox mania and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him. and this, hurley said antonio believed he was following trump's orders to march on washington and that he was taking part in what he saw as a patriotic movement to serve the u.s. antonio faces five federal charges related to the capitol insurrection. he's accused of threatening police and was caught on camera throwing a water bottle toward officer michael fanone, who is being dragged into the crowd where he was tased and beaten. joining us now, huff post senior justice reporter ryan riley and chuck rosenberg is back. ryan, take me through whether
these defenses of either i saw it on fox and/or trump told me to do it, are they working? >> the trump told me to do it defense hasn't been working so far. in fact, it's actually backfired on a number of different cases where judges have said, okay, if this person can't exercise their own independent judgment and is just sort of a lemming following a leader blindly into whatever he says they should do, that's really troublesome and that actually makes them more of a threat to the public and more of an issue for them to be released pre-trial. i think what's interesting here is, you know, this lawyer said this as a bit of an eccentric lawyer from delaware. he's pretty well known within the community for sort of throwing out these sort of lines. but you know, if you really want to extend the metaphor, what we're talking about here is a situation where this -- we have a patient with a lot of underlying conditions who was being fed this on a regular basis for, you know, over the years, and that's really true, you know, this is something
that's been -- has deep roots within the republican party in terms of voter suppression, in terms of believing in this myth of mass voter fraud, which just really isn't substantiated. so the groundwork for this has been laid for a very long time, and of course, you know, trump came in and you could call him the quack doctor in this situation and really took advantage of that, and you know, spread this disease throughout the party. >> ryan, i would be horrified if i worked at a network that someone's lawyer was saying was to blame for an individual's participation in a deadly insurrection. has fox commented on the defense strategy for this suspect? >> you know, not that we've seen so far but of course they've pivoted a bit from where they were previously and that's why we've seen other networks like oan and so forth step into that void and satisfy a lot of that audience that is really looking for someone to follow through on what they were told during the election. because if you just follow this to the conclusion, it sort of is
this divide because you have politicians who are trying to appease this audience that believes deeply that the election was stolen and are -- it doesn't -- i think that a lot of these defendants and more broadly the people who really deeply believe that the election was stolen are having trouble with the idea of, like, okay, well, we lost that one, let's walk away and get the next one. like, that's not a situation you should really find yourself in if you actually believe the election is stolen. you should do something about that, and i think that the logic -- and that's why this myth that was spread throughout the republican party is so inherently dangerous, because if you have such a wide audience believing this mass delusion, some of them are going to do something about it, and something that, you know, law enforcement officials were warning me about and i talked to directly after the november election. it's something that, you know, sort of we could see coming and unfortunately, we weren't prepared for it on january 6th. >> well, and chuck rosenberg, to
only talk about this in the past tense is erroneous as well because today, right now, liz cheney is about to lose her job to someone who is today, yesterday on steve bannon's podcast repeating the big lie which led to the insurrection. what is the current threat in your view of the big lie? >> right, well, there's a lot of people out there who believe it. there's a lot of people out there, sadly, repeating it. and to ryan's point, when enough people hear it, some of them are going to act on it. and so, there is an ongoing threat. there isn't the specific date that i have in mind, like january 6th, when they were counting the electoral votes at which something might happen, but it doesn't take a lot of bad people to do bad things to get our attention. and so, there's this persistent, ongoing threat. it may not be domestic terrorism, per se, but it could certainly be dangerous and we saw what happened at the capitol and to its police officers, and i fear more stuff like that,
nicole, is going to continue to happen. whether they're watching fox or listening to other people spin lies, there's a real danger here. >> and what do you make of the -- i saw it on fox, fox mania defense, chuck? >> yeah, so, earlier, nicole, try to conceal the smile on my face -- earlier, you mentioned there were 440 defendants. all of them are going to either have to plead guilty or go to trial, and if you go to trial, you're going to have to have a defense, and so if a defense lawyer had a serious defense, if she had an alibi, for instance, for her client, if he was in ohio on the day of the insurrection, that would be her defense. he wasn't there and i can prove it. if you don't have an alibi defense, which is pretty compelling, particularly if it's true, you got to come up with something else. and so, what you're really talking about when you talk about foxitis or fox mania is
diminished capacity, that my client was so stupid or so easily misled or so addled that he couldn't be faulted, he couldn't form intent. before the break, we were talking about the difference between a civil and a criminal case. now we're squarely in criminal case land and in order for it to be a crime, it has to be an intentional act. and so, what the defense attorney here is trying to do is saying, whatever you may think about what happened, whatever you may think about my client, he was too stupid to form intent, and the reason you know that is because he spent all of his free time watching particular news stories and particular channels and listening to particular commentators. let's just call it foxitis. >> unbelievable. we will all be watching. the world is watching, sadly enough. ryan riley, chuck rosenberg, thank you so much for spending time with us on this rather bizarre twist. when we return, a very special tribute as part of our lives well lived series.
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you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. when you sponsor a job, you immediately get your shortlist of quality candidates, whose resumes on indeed match your job criteria. visit indeed.com/hire and get started today. [sizzling] i may not be able to tell time, but i know what time it is. [whispering] it's grilled cheese o'clock. so, here's the thing about jeff fox. he never, ever forgot where he came from, raised in north carolina in the foothills of the blue ridge mountains, his family was never extravagantly wealthy, but they were rich where it really counted, in love, in good values. jeff's dad used to come home from the furniture factory, exhausted, to find his son holding a baseball, ready to play ball.
jeff, the ball player, went on to win hall of fame honors in high school before starting all four years at unc asheville in a line-up that featured the current manager of the st. louis cardinals. a knee injury ended jeff's dream of playing in the majors, but he continued playing amateur while he got a job with the secret service, protecting president bill clinton and after 9/11, jeff became a federal air marshall, protecting us all. that's when he met the love of his life, christina, a flight attendant with whom he traveled twice a week between washington, d.c., and san francisco. after they got married in 2008, jeff, normally possessing a tough exterior, doted over christina and their dog, bella, his girls, he called them. as his career continued with the cia, then the department of defense. all the while, he called his wonderful mom and dad every week, just to tell them he loved them. jeff got sick a few months ago
and passed away in mid-march at the young age of 52. now, his family and friends want to celebrate the life of jeff fox, the man who never forgot where he came from. and joining us to talk about him, chris, a close friend of jeff's. chris, another friend says this about jeff, and i want to ask you if it rings true for you. jeff fox made all of us feel better for being around him, both in ways we know and can feel and even more importantly, in all the other ways that just rub off on you over the years. like way too many of our fellow americans whose lives were cut short by covid, fox's familiar habits, mannerisms and expressions we slowly embraced over time now become ours together to carry on. is that the case for you? if so, can you tell us which ones? >> yeah. well, let's -- the one that won't carry on is that christmas sweater that he wore. that was an annual tradition that we had around here, and jeff and christina were always
good sports and brought the goods on those nights. yeah, jeff, listen, i think you nailed it. jeff was a really -- he was all in on everything he did. i mean, everything. he had a sense of clarity and purpose about him that you don't see in many people. whether he was on the job or on the ball field or umpiring or spending time with his friends and family, he was always prepared. he was always present. he was in the moment. he had a strong set of values that also made him quite complex. on the one hand, he had a deep sense of duty and sacrifice, values you just touched on, and of country. but what made him unique is that he had an equally deep sense of community and compassion and care for others. he -- jeff really believed in the government he protected, the country he served, and those of
us, his friends that he kept. but it wasn't simply that those were good things, you know? it was a belief that they all needed to be better and that they could be better, and being friends with jeff, like you mentioned, it was -- he expected as much from us as he did from himself, and that made each and every one of us, you know, better. that was jeff fox. >> and you know, just to your point, i mean, i worked for a president and had the privilege of knowing people in the secret service. it is a job where the job definition is you are willing to take a bullet for the person you protect. where did that deep desire to protect come from? >> it had to be his mother and father, martha and jerry. martha's sense of loyalty is obvious in jeff and you know, jerry's sense of duty and
service is there as well. but you know, jeff didn't really talk about his service much, in the secret service or the cia, because for him, it didn't serve a purpose. he knew what he was doing and why he was what he was doing an why he was serving. he would talk about the people he met, the people that cared about him along the way. he was very proud to serve president clinton and then, you know, president bush. and he was proud of law enforcement and the sacrifices those men and women make. but jeff, you know, didn't just protect presidents and citizens. he protected institutions. jeff on the ball field was just as serious about protecting, you know, the way the fundamental pillars of baseball, how to bear your uniform, never make the let's not wear a uniform like that. how to wear a uniform, don't make the first out at home.
he was as serious on the ball field as he was on his job and that's, again, really why he was unique. he was truly one of a kind. >> and then there are the love stories with his friends, with his parents and with his girls, christina and the dog. talk about that. >> well, yeah. listen, talk about sacrifice. you know, christina sacrificed. she had to sit in the stands for probably one too many games for her. but she -- she became -- the moment he met her, and i remember, you know, when he was traveling in the air marshall and he would cross country and land in just to play a game. he started -- you know, jeff was originally not the married type. all of a sudden, something happened and he started talking about this girl he met. the next thing you know, she
showed up at a few games, and the rest is history. christina and bella are the loves of his life. >> we have never in the year and two months that we have been doing this had anyone come on, but now i don't know that i could do it any other way. and for that, i'm grateful for you, chris. it's so hard to talk about someone you have lost. it is hard for me and i didn't even know him. from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. we are so sorry for your loss. thank you for taking about your friend today. we will be back.
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can i use apple carplay to put some music on? sure, it's wireless. pick something we all like. ok. hold on. what's your buick's wi-fi password? “buickenvision2021.” oh, you should pick something stronger. that's really predictable. that's a really tight spot. don't worry. i used to hate parallel parking. [all together] me too. - hey. - you really outdid yourself. yes, we did. the all-new buick envision. an suv built around you... all of you. my grandfather had an amazing life, but ancestry showed me an suv built around you... so much more than i could have imagined. my grandfather was born in a shack in pennsylvania, his father was a miner, they were immigrants from italy and somewhere along the way that man changed his name and transformed himself into a successful mid-century american man. he had a whole life that i didn't know anything about. he was just my beloved grandpa. bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at ancestry.com i have an idea for a trade. why don't you call td ameritrade for a strategy gut check? what's that? you run it by an expert, you talk about the risk and potential profit and loss.
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thank you for lets us into your homes during these extraordinary times. "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. hi, ari. happy friday. >> i like to end the week sometimes learning from you. my question to you is the one everyone always asks. why is this republican party so caught in the past of someone who is a losing candidate? >> you know, you and i have had this conversation and we had this frame around them that, you know, made them do that and we have to shed that. this is who they are. they are a party that's brazenly for rolling back access to voting. they are a party totally comfortable with the debasing side of trumpism. and they're a party that stands for purging liz cheney, who is more conservative than